60 Dead In Afghan Quake

Sixty people were killed and hundreds injured when a strong earthquake shook Kabul and an area west of the city Thursday night.

"It is with great regret we learn that in last evening's quake 50 people have been killed and 200 wounded," the radio report said Friday, appealing for international aid.

At least 10 more people were reported dead by Sunday, raising the toll to sixty.

Friday's radio report said the deaths occurred in an area some 20 miles west of Kabul called Maida Shahr. The radio said it had no reports from other areas.

The quake caused several mud-built dwellings in the capital to collapse and panic among some residents who thought they were being attacked by U.S. warplanes or missiles in Washington's search for Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, who is based in Afghanistan.

U.N. aid operations during the harsh Afghan winter are being carried out by local employees while the world body negotiates security guarantees with the ruling Taliban, an Islamist militia.

The quake, which was felt as far away as the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, measured 5.5 on the open-ended Richter scale and its epicenter was thought to be southwest of Kabul.

Two strong earthquakes in northeastern Afghanistan last year killed some 8,000 people and destroyed many villages.

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